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Anti-arms film: Club warned of legal action

COUNCIL officials have warned a Leeds club that it could face legal action if it shows an anti-arms manufacturer film without permission.

The documentary, On the Verge, is made by independent radical film makers, SchMovies and focuses on a campaign against weapons manufacturer Edo in Brighton.

The 90-minute film cost less than 500 to make and was filmed over 10 days of demonstrations.

Common Place social club in Leeds city centre plans to show the film but Leeds City Council has asked for a copy of the film so it can be given a classification.

Many small independent film makers do not seek British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) approval for their work, but local authorities are empowered to classify films shown in their area.

A letter from the council's legal, licensing and registration department warns the club of "enforcement action" if the council is not given a copy of the film.

The Common Place in Wharfe Street is a music venue, and also a base for groups involved in political campaigns.

Shocked

The film is on tour and is coupled with talks about the arms industry. The Common Place plans to show the film on Sunday, April 27, at 2pm.

Club member Paul Chatterton said: "We have shown dozens of documentaries on social issues before.

"We felt the letter was quite threatening because it referred to enforcement action. We were shocked and felt intimidated."

Carl Gallagher of law firm Zermansky's who are representing the club said: "The conduct of Leeds City Council gives my client very serious cause for concern.

"The actions of Leeds City Council are an unnecessary and bureaucratic attack upon free expression. We will be monitoring the classification procedure very carefully."

The council said: "If a film does not have a BBFC classification, it has to receive local approval to be publicly screened.

"This is exactly the same procedure we use for unclassified films shown during the Leeds Film Festival and other similar events in the city."

 
 
 

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